Blog Fitness Workouts Cardio Workouts No Equipment Needed: These Are The 10 Best Cardio Workouts To Do At Home

No Equipment Needed: These Are The 10 Best Cardio Workouts To Do At Home

For optimal health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week (5). But what if you don’t have a gym membership or access to equipment? No problem! There are plenty of ways to get your heart pumping and sweat flowing without any equipment at all. Here are 10 of the best cardio workouts you can do at home:

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1. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are a classic cardio movement that gets your whole body moving. It’s also a great way to warm up your muscles before a more intense workout.

To do a jumping jack:

  1. Start by standing with your feet together and your arms at your sides.
  2. Then, jump up and spread your legs out to the side while bringing your arms up overhead.
  3. Jump back to the starting position and repeat. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps.

2. High Knees

High knees is a cardio movement that will get your heart rate up in no time. It’s also a great way to strengthen your legs and improve your coordination.

To do high knees:

  1. Start by standing with your legs together and arms at your sides.
  2. Then, lift your right knee up towards your chest before quickly placing it back on the ground.
  3. Repeat with your left leg and continue alternating. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps.

cardio workouts at home

3. Butt Kicks

Butt kicks are another great cardio move that will get your legs moving. They’re also a good way to stretch out your hamstrings and glutes.

To do butt kicks:

  1. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  2. Then, kick your right foot back so that your heel hits your glutes.
  3. As you bring your leg back to the starting position, immediately kick your left foot back. Continue alternating legs. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps.

Read More: Cardio Kickboxing: Benefits, How To And Sample Beginner Workout

4. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are a challenging cardio move that works your whole body. They’re also a great way to build strength in your arms, legs, and core.

To do mountain climbers:

  1. Start in a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Then, bring your right knee up towards your chest while keeping your left leg straight.
  3. Quickly switch legs, bringing your left knee up and keeping your right leg straight. Continue alternating legs. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps.
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5. Squat Jumps

Squat jumps are a plyometric move that will get your heart rate up in no time. They’re also a great way to build lower-body strength and power.

To do a squat jump:

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  2. Then, squat down until your thighs are parallel with the ground before quickly jumping up into the air.
  3. As you land, sink back down into a squat before jumping back up again. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps.

6. Burpees

Burpees are a full-body movement that combines a push-up with a jump. They’re an excellent way to get your heart rate up and build strength in your arms, legs, and core.

To do a burpee:

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands at your sides.
  2. Then, lower down into a squat position before placing your hands on the ground in front of you.
  3. Kick your feet back into a push-up position and perform one push-up.
  4. Quickly jump your feet back up to your hands and stand up, jumping into the air. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps.

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7. Standing Alternating Toe Touches

The standing alternating toe touch is a great cardio exercise to get your heart rate up and improve your balance. It’s also good for stretching out your hamstrings while strengthening your core.

To do standing alternating toe touches:

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  2. Then, raise your right leg up and raise your left hand up and over to touch your right toes. You might not be able to touch your toes at first, but just keep reaching.
  3. As you lower your right leg and left hand back to the starting position, raise your left leg up and reach your right hand over to touch your left toes.
  4. Continue alternating sides. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps.
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8. Box Jumps

Box jumps are a plyometric movement that will really get your heart rate up. They’re also a great way to build lower-body power and explosiveness.

To do box jumps:

  1. Start by standing in front of a box or other sturdy object that you can jump onto.
  2. Then, bend your knees and swing your arms back before quickly jumping up onto the box.
  3. Step or jump back down to the ground and repeat. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps.

9. Plank Jacks

Plank jacks are a great cardio move that will also work your arms, legs, and core. They’re similar to regular jumping jacks, but instead of starting in a standing position, you start in a plank position.

To do plank jacks:

  1. Start in a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Then, jump your feet out to the side while keeping your upper body still.
  3. Jump your feet back to the starting position and repeat. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps.

Read More: Low Intensity Steady State Cardio: Yay Or Nay?

cardio workouts at home

10. Inchworm Crawl

The inchworm crawl is a great cardio movement that will also work your arms, legs, and core. It’s similar to a bear crawl, but instead of crawling on all fours, you start in a standing position.

To do an inchworm crawl:

  1. Start by standing with your feet together and your hands at your sides.
  2. Then, bend down and place your palms on the ground in front of you. Brace your core, keep your knees straight but relaxed.
  3. While in a push-up position, begin to “walk” your hands forward until you’re in a low plank position. Your feet should still be touching.
  4. Reverse the movement and “walk” your hands back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps.

How To Do Effective Cardio Workouts At Home

Cardio workouts at home can be just as effective as those done at the gym, if not more so. The key is to choose exercises that are challenging enough to get your heart rate up and to keep moving for the entire duration of your workout.

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So, which cardio burns the most fat?

Any cardio workout that gets your heart rate up and has you moving for an extended period of time will help you burn fat. However, some exercises are better than others when it comes to burning fat.

Interval training, for example, is a great way to burn fat because it alternates between periods of high-intensity and low-intensity exercise.

This type of training has been shown to be more effective at burning fat than a steady-state cardio, like jogging or biking, because it helps you burn more calories both during and after your workout.

If you’re wondering what is a good 20 minute workout, here’s an example of a 20-minute interval training workout that you can do at home (you can use any form of cardio that you like):

  1. Warm-up for 5 minutes by walking or light jogging in place, enough to get your heart rate up but not so much that you’re out of breath.
  2. Then, do 2 minutes of high-intensity cardio, like sprinting in place or jumping jacks. Make sure you’re working hard enough that you can’t carry on a conversation.
  3. Follow this with 1 minute of low-intensity cardio, like walking or light jogging in place.
  4. Repeat this cycle 5 times for a total of 20 minutes.

Remember to cool down for 5 minutes at the end of your workout by walking or light jogging in place. You can increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you get in better shape.

Another great way to burn fat is to include strength training in your workouts. Strength-training not only helps you build muscle, but it also helps you burn more calories both during and after your workout (3).

You don’t need weights to do strength-training, at first. Bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats are all great options. As you get stronger, you can add weights to these exercises to make them even more challenging.

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cardio workouts at home

Safety Considerations For At Home Cardio Workouts 

Low to moderate intensity cardio is generally safe for most people. However, if you have any health concerns, please consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. This is especially necessary if you have (4):

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
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Additionally, if you experience any pain or discomfort while exercising, stop and consult with your doctor. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.

Some risks are associated with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This type of training can be hard on your joints and muscles, so it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. 

The following tips will help you stay safe while doing HIIT workouts at home:

Gear Up

While you can do most at-home workouts without equipment, you’ll still need protective gear if you’re doing HIIT workouts that involve impact, like running or jumping. Good shoes are a must, and you might also want to invest in a quality yoga mat to protect your joints.

Warm Up

It’s important to warm up before any type of workout, but it’s especially important before HIIT workouts. A good warm-up will increase your heart rate and supply your muscles with blood and oxygen. This will help reduce your risk of injury and make your workout more effective.

cardio workouts at home

Incorporate Dynamic Stretches

Dynamic stretches are a great way to warm up your muscles before a workout. They help improve range of motion and increase blood flow to your muscles (2).

Dynamic stretches are different from static stretches, which you should do after your workout.

Some examples of dynamic stretches include:

Arm Circles

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  2. Slowly lift your arms up until they’re parallel to the ground.
  3. Then, make small circles with your arms. 

Trunk Rotations

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on your hips.
  2. Rotate your trunk from side to side. 

Leg Swings

  1. Find a sturdy object to hold onto, like a chair or countertop.
  2. Swing one leg forward and backward, keeping your other leg planted on the ground. 

Start Slow

If you’re new to HIIT, it’s important to start slow and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Jumping into an intense HIIT workout without preparing your body first can lead to injury.

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How Often Should I Run? Finding The Right Frequency For Optimal Benefits

Cool Down

Just as it’s important to warm up before a workout, it’s just as important to cool down afterwards. A cool-down helps your body recover from the intense exercise and prevents blood pooling in your muscles, which can lead to cramping and pain.

cardio workouts at home

Incorporate Static Stretches

Static stretches are a great way to cool down your muscles after a workout. They reduce the soreness you might feel later and improve your range of motion.

Some examples of static stretches include:

Calf Stretch

  1. Place your hands on a wall and step back with one leg.
  2. Keep your back leg straight and your front leg bent with your heel pressed against the wall.
  3. Lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in your calf. 

Hamstring Stretch

  1. Lie on your back and place a towel around your foot.
  2. Straighten your leg and pull on the towel until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. 

Quadriceps Stretch

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hand on a wall for support.
  2. Bend one leg back and grab your ankle with your hand.
  3. Gently pull your heel toward your buttocks until you feel a stretch in your quadriceps.

Hydrate

Dehydration and heat exhaustion are common risks during HIIT workouts. These conditions are more likely to occur in hot weather or if you’re not properly hydrated.

To stay hydrated, drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. You might also want to consider investing in a portable water bottle or hydrating pack to keep with you during your workout.

Watch out for warning signs of dehydration, such as (1):

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Dark urine

Listen To Your Body

It’s important to listen to your body and take breaks when you need them. If you feel pain or discomfort, stop the exercise and rest.

Conclusion

There you have it! These are 10 of the best cardio workouts you can do at home with no equipment needed. They can help you get your heart rate up, burn calories, and improve your overall fitness level.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Dehydration (2021, mayoclinic.org) 
  2. Dynamic Stretching Has Sustained Effects on Range of Motion and Passive Stiffness of the Hamstring Muscles (2013, nih.gov) 
  3. Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults (2012, nih.gov) 
  4. Exercise: When to check with your doctor first (2021, mayoclinic.org) 
  5. Walking (2022, cdc.gov)
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